Considering the rate at which our online lives are growing, web safety is more important than ever. But how do you protect your identity online? Previously, all we had to worry about was having a solid email password, but now we have to keep a closer eye on everything from apps to gaming devices. Identity theft is a serious crime. June is National Internet Safety Month, so Viewpoints created an internet safety guide with the best ways to protect yourself as you continue exploring the digital universe.
Use strong passwords
Skip obvious choices (your kid’s name, your birth date) in favor of passcodes that combine upper- and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Check how strong your password is at The Password Meter. If you have a difficult time remembering passwords, create a sentence. The password Ihave2dogs! rates ‘very strong’ on the Password Meter site. And a professional tip? Don’t repeat passwords. Assign a unique password to each of your unique accounts.
Protect your computer
Make sure you have up-to-date security software installed. Try Symantec Norton Internet Security. You should be able to take it for a test run before buying.
Don’t wait to clean up
Take steps to remove malware at the first sign of infection. Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Software is a great tool for removing vicious software from your hard drive. You can try it for free, but buy the full version for best results.
“Recommended” privacy settings on social networks tend to be too lax for optimal protection. Customize how much or little information you share with different people.
Secure your smart phone
Apps can hold large amounts of personal data, and it is important to prevent access to them by using a password.
Cover your tracks
Be smart about using geolocation on your smart phone. It should only be used when the benefit outweighs the risk of revealing your location.
Don’t click quickly
Never click on suspicious links in emails or social media messages, even if they come from someone you know. If they’ve been hacked, you could be exposed to malware.
Think of the children
Pass on web safety tips to your young kids. Know which websites they visit and keep track of their passwords.
When banking or shopping online, make sure to use sites with web addresses that begin with “”https://” or “shttp://”, which are secure, unlike simple “http://” sites.
Keep games fun
All prior rules also apply to Internet-connected gaming, but are especially important for kids. Parents can help keep kids safe in the game world by having them use avatars instead of pictures and learning to block and report cyber bullies.
Editor’s Note: For even more tips and details, visit Stay Safe Online, the National Cyber Security Alliance’s guide to web security.